Affordable mandolins are all that Oscar Schmidt makes. This company is located in Buffalo Grove, Illinois and is owned by Washburn Guitars, so it is a brand of the US Music Corporation. Oscar Schmidt is a long-running maker of mandolins and other musical instruments, dating back to 1871.
In general, their mandolins are recommended for beginners on a budget. These instruments are not very expensive and all are made in China with laminated pressed wood instead of solid wood. While these aren’t the highest quality because they’re not made out of solid wood, they are a decent option for someone that doesn’t have a lot of money to spend but wants to get started playing.
With that said, their instruments are quite popular, especially their most affordable models. They are popular because they are well-built and produce a nice sound for the cost of a more expensive mando. For these reasons, a lot of beginners that want an affordable instrument will choose one from this company (often the OM10E or OM12B).
The OM10E is an excellent entry level mandolin that will work for a wide variety of situations because it is an acoustic / electric.
For the price, it is really hard to go wrong, especially since this model actually produces a nice sound.
This particular model has a tobacco sunburst design, spruce top, mahogany back, sides and neck, and a rosewood bridge and fingerboard. To play electric, you will need to purchase an amplifier separately.
The OM10EWH is the same as the OM10E, except it is white.
This gives the instrument a really sleek and classical look.
Under the hood, everything else is identical to the OM10E, so this is also a great beginner mandolin.
If you are interested, you simply need to choose which one you like the look of better.
The OM12B features the oval hole design that many prefer for it’s sound qualities.
This model has a spruce top with mahogany back, sides and neck and a rosewood fingerboard. In many ways, this features a lot of the same equipment as the OM10E, except this is not electric.
For first-time players that want an acoustic A-Style that is affordable and produces a nice tone, the OM12B is a good choice.
The OM40 is their Florentine style model. It has a spruce top with maple back and side and mahogany neck.
The tone from this instrument sounds good for the price, especially considering it is an F-Style that typically costs more. Some of the equipment on it is cheap and could stand to be replaced when you get the instrument set up after buying it, such as the tuners and strings.
Overall, if you’re just getting started playing and really want this style, this can be an affordable to accomplish that goal because you won’t find many other brands offering this style for this cheap.